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Activists tell gov to shove its net censorship plans

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LCC As various bods gather in London for a conference on cyber-security, leading online rights campaigners have penned a letter to Foreign Secretary William Hague urging the government to maintain freedom and privacy while promoting security.

"We call for the UK government to seize this opportunity to reject censorship and surveillance that undermines people's rights to express themselves, organise or communicate freely," the letter states.

Of particular concern to the e-activists, who include Cory Doctorow of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Simon Davies of Privacy International, are new laws on filtering out porn and terrorist material that are now under government consideration.

The campaigning gang are upset over MP Claire Perry's crusade to require Brit netizens to opt in to view online grumble flicks, which is currently working its way around Parliament, and the new PREVENT counter-terrorism strategy, which includes proposals that will similarly remove legal but undesirable content from the net.

The letter also shoots down the Prime Minister's suggestion of a social networking crackdown, a move mulled in the aftermath of the summer riots, and more generally the government's "plans for more pervasive powers to surveil and access people's personal information online".

Eleven groups are represented on the letter, including names from The Index on Censorship and openDemocracy.

It looks like Hague might be taking the arguments on board, kicking off the cyber-security conference with a speech railing against net censorship. ®

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